US leaker flying to Russia: reports

23rd June 2013, Comments 0 comments

Former US intelligence operative Edward Snowden was flying to Moscow from Hong Kong on Sunday, Russian media reports said, although the Kremlin said it had no information.

"I do not know anything. I hear this for the first time," Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told AFP.

But he reiterated that Russia would consider a request for asylum if Snowden applied.

A Hong Kong government spokesman said that Snowden, who faces a US arrest warrant over his leaking of a massive US surveillance programme, had left the Chinese territory for a "third country".

Aeroflot spokeswoman Irina Danenberg said the airline did not disclose information about its passengers but an Aeroflot source, speaking to Echo of Moscow radio, confirmed that Snowden had left Hong Kong for Moscow.

The source said it was a transit flight and did not rule out that Snowden would then go to Cuba.

The next Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Havana leaves on Monday afternoon.

Russia's Interfax news agency, reporting from Hong Kong and citing a source close to Snowden, said the ex-operative would arrive in Moscow "in the evening."

"But he will not stay in Moscow for long. He spoke about an option of a further transit to Cuba," a source was quoted as saying. "Where he will decide to fly from Moscow precisely is not known."

"Maybe he will want to remain in Russia," the source was quoted as saying.

Citing a source at Aeroflot, Interfax said a passenger under the name Snowden was flying to Moscow with Aeroflot on SU 213 which is scheduled to land at 5.05 pm (1305 GMT).

The source said the same passenger was scheduled to then take Aeroflot flight to Cuba on Monday.

© 2013 AFP

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